The Gilded Age was an era of America’s story often overlooked in history classes – but essential to understanding our world today. The incredible growth and change in the United States set the stage for modern America to emerge at the turn of the 19th century, and for a complete transformation of American society. What does that mean for us in 2019? Some feel we are in a second Gilded Age – more agree with that opinion – actually, even more! Wait – another one? And, is it everywhere?
So … what does this mean for us? Why does this era matter?
To begin our quick examination of the Gilded Age, your task is to visually represent many of the content and themes of the era by creating some sketchnotes or collage. Using the materials available here and the videos from your preview work, draw and BRIEFLY describe the various topics that the characterize the Gilded Age. Check out my example below!
To help you limit your searching, try using this chapter from Holt’s United States History from Independence to 1914. There are other links that can help you below for specific topics. You do NOT have to read every word … instead get a decent overview of the various topics-ok?
Some key topics: The growth of industry, big business and corporations, Captains of industry vs. Robber Barons, income inequality, the growth of railroads, labor problems, labor unions, strikes and collective bargaining, growth of cities, urban issues and challenges, political machines and political corruption, immigration, push and pull factors, challenges and contributions of immigrants, restrictions on immigration
Remember what Mark Twain (maybe) said? History doesn’t repeat itself – at best, it sometimes rhymes. That’s the second step as we compare the Gilded Age with today. As we progress this week, use a separate document to make connections between the past and the present. Number the topic on your sketchnotes and corresponding topic to provide the connection. The links can be both general and specific, but push yourself to make meaningful and pertinent connections.
A non-example – There were cities in the Gilded Age, and there are cities now. (This would be a 1)
A basic example – Gilded Age cities developed mass transit to move people around and to suburbs. Cities today have mass transit as well, including some from the Gilded Age era. (A 2 … and could get to a 3 with details)
A better example – Transportation in the cities fo the Gilded Age grew with the development of mass transit lines, including street cars, elevated railways, and subways. Many cities still rely on this mode of transportation today, and others look to improve their mass transit. For example, Milwaukee recently created “The Hop” for citizens in the downtown area. In addition, Phoenix, Seattle, Denver, and Los Angeles are improving their rail network as the cities and industry grow. (Perfecting public transportation: 10 U.S. cities with progressive plans) (Now we are talking 3 or 4)
Paper platforms are available in class, but if you want to use your own paper, feel free!